The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. WhenSenegal withdrew after only a few months, theSudaneseRepublic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 with a transitional government, and in 1992 when Mali's first democratic presidential election was held. After his reelection in 1997, President Alpha KONARE continued to push through political and economic reforms and to fight corruption. In keeping withMali's two-term constitutional limit, he stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE.
Western Africa, southwest of Algeria
17 00 N, 4 00 W
Total: 1.24 million sq Km; water: 20,000 sq km; land: 1.22 million sq km
Subtropical to arid; hot and dry February to June; rainy, humid, and mild June to November; cool and dry November to February
11,340,480 (July 2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.97% (2002 est.)
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female -under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female -15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female -65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female -total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
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Nationality: Noun: Malian(s)
Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%
Languages: French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages
Mali is among the poorest countries in the world, with 65% of its land area desert or semi desert. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by theNiger. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 70% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for cotton, its main export. In 1997, the government continued its successful implementation of an IMF-recommended structural adjustment program that is helping the economy grow, diversify, and attract foreign investment. Mali's adherence to economic reform and the 50% devaluation of the African franc in January 1994 have pushed up economic growth to a sturdy 5% average in 1996-2000. In 2001, GDP decreased by 1.2% mainly due to a 50% drop in cotton production in 2000-01.
food processing; construction; phosphate and gold mining
: cotton, millet, rice, corn, vegetables, peanuts; cattle, sheep, goats
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Telephones main lines in use:
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus repeaters) (2001)
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Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 13 (2001)
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Total: 729 Km; narrow gauge: 729 km 1.000-m gauge
linked to Senegal's rail system through Kayes (2001)
Total: 15,100 km
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Conventional long form:Republic ofMali;conventional short form: Mali ;local short form: Mali ;former: French Sudan and Sudanese Republic ;local long form: Republique de Mali
8 regions (regions, singular - region); Gao, Kayes, Kidal, Koulikoro, Mopti, Segou, Sikasso, Tombouctou
22 September 1960 (from France)
adopted 12 January 1992
based on French civil law system and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts inConstitutional Court (which was formally established on9 March 1994); has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
chief of state: President Amadou Toumani TOURE (since 8 June 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Ahmed Mohamed Ag HAMANI (since 9 June 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (two-term limit); election last held 12 May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2007); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Amadou Toumani TOURE elected president; percent of vote - Amadou Toumani TOURE 64.4%, Soumaila CISSE 35.6%
: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for Democracy or ADEMA [Diounconda Traore KEITA, party chairman]; Block of Alternative for the Renewal of Africa or BARA [Yoro DIAKITE]; Democratic and Social Convention or CDS [Mamadou Bakary SANGARE, chairman]; Movement for the Independence, Renaissance and Integration of Africa or MIRIA [Mohamed Lamine TRAORE, Mouhamedou DICKO]; National Congress for Democratic Initiative or CNID [Mountaga TALL, chairman]; Party for Democracy and Progress or PDP [Me Idrissa TRAORE]; Party for National Renewal or PARENA [Yoro DIAKITE, chairman; Tiebile DRAME, secretary general]; Rally for Democracy and Labor or RDT [Ali GNANGADO]; Rally for Democracy and Progress or RDP [Almamy SYLLA, chairman]; Rally for Mali or RPM [Ibrahim Bonbasor KEITA, chairman]; Sudanese Union/African Democratic Rally or US/RDA [Mamadou Bamou TOURE, secretary general]; Union of Democratic Forces for Progress or UFDP [Youssouf TOURE, secretary general]; Union for Democracy and Development or UDD [Moussa Balla COULIBALY]
Muslim 90%, indigenous beliefs 9%, Christian 1%.
Mali is a country old enough to have rock paintings that date back to a time when the Sahara was a blossoming paradise but the first known empire in the region was the Empire of Ghana. This was destroyed in the 11th century by Muslim Berbers from Mauritania and Morocco who objected to the lukewarm manner in which the empire embraced Islam. By the middle of the 13th century, however, Sundiata Keita, leader of the Mandinka people, had strategically converted the empire to Islam and taken out a monopoly on the gold and salt trade. Under the influence of several progressive Mansas (Lords), Djenné and Timbuktu became the commercial Shangri-las of West Africa, with several mosques and a couple of universities being built as part of the push to create a great and powerful empire.
In 1883Mali became a French colony and, although a few railways and irrigation systems were built, Mali was always considered the poor cousin of other West African colonies. In June 1960 Mali finally gained its independence and merged with Senegal to form a federation but the honeymoon was short and turbulent and by August Senegal had seceded and Modibo Keita became the first president of the Mali Republic. Keita opted to play both sides of the political fence by retaining political and economic ties with France but relying heavily on Soviet military advice. In a fit of national pride Mali left the franc zone in 1962, established its own currency, and embarked on a series of disastrous socialist policies that sent the economy bust and caused a national tightening of the belt. These austere cost-cutting ventures proved to be highly unpopular and in 1968 Moussa Traoré took over the country in a bloodless coup.
Traoré ruled Mali from 1968 to 1991 but not always well and not always benevolently. Mali was a relatively peaceful republic in the 1970s and '80s, although there were several obligatory coup attempts and a well-publicised student strike in 1979. In 1991, however, all Traoré's sins came home to roost. His heavy-handed treatment of Tuareg rebels, his repeated refusals to consider political pluralism, and his open-fire policy toward strikers and rioters led Lt.Col Amadou Toumani Touré to take control of the country and appoint a civilian, Soumana Sacko, to head a transitional government. In 1992 multiparty elections were held and Alpha Konaré was invested as President. Konaré was reelected by a landslide in 1997, but could not run for a third term.
National hero Touré came out of retirement to win the presidency in May 2002. The former general is widely respected for his peace efforts and humanitarian work. Touré faces some tough challenges; although Mali is a relatively stable country, it is still one of the poorest inAfrica. The nation is still recovering from the devastating droughts and famines of the 1980s, in which people and livestock died, wells dried up and villages disappeared beneath the sand. However, the economy is improving, and recent discoveries of deposits of gold may help the country from its knees.
Taken From: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/africa/mali/history.htm